Career Planning

The IDEA Center is available to help you discover resources for your professional success. Career Coaches partner with you to find the right resources to set and achieve your professional goals. Still have questions? Come visit us in Stevens.

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Explore Careers

Career success begins when you realize which careers actually spark your interest and will resonate with what you’re good at. Here are some useful resources to help you understand what kinds of careers are out there, their related majors, how much salary they typically pay, and other statistics.

Internship/Job Search Resources

Ready to get started on your internship or job search? We’ve got some resources on job and internship boards that you can benefit from. Remember, once you find a job or internship you would like to apply for, you don’t have to go at it alone. The IDEA Center can assist you throughout the application process.


A standout resume is one that is catered towards the position you’re applying for. As employers read your resume, they will be scanning for specific keywords and phrases will help them determine if you’re an ideal candidate or not. When writing your resume, it’s important to know about resume format, skills extraction, and action verbs.

You want to put your best foot forward in every part of the job search process, and the resume and cover letter are no different. You can make your passion and your skills stand out from the crowd with these  two documents on hand. Since resumes and cover letters are essential components in the job and internship application process, we want to make sure you’re well-equipped with these assets. Here are some resources to help you out.

Resume Formatting

The resume format will depend with each applicant. But one thing is for sure: all resumes should include your general information, objective, experience, education, and relevant projects. You can meet with a Career Coach to assist you in formatting a resume that seems relevant to you. Here’s a general example on how you should format your resume:

General Resume Formatting Guide 

Extracting Skills Onto Your Resume

Skills extraction is a process that involves pin-pointing skills you can identify with as they relate to the job description you’re applying for. When applying for a job or an internship, always pay attention to the job description. The job description will mention relevant skills you will certainly need for that position. Once you understand the skills the employer is looking for, you can begin to record previous experiences or projects where you demonstrated those skills onto your resume. Doing this will create a more tailored resume that will capture recruiter interest.

Skills Extraction

If you need help with extracting the right skills onto your resume, use Simply copy and paste the job’s title and description and it will give you a detailed skills extraction report of keywords and phrases you should include in your resume.

Using Action Verbs

Action verbs help begin to explain each of your experiences that you listed on your resume. Choosing the right ones will make you sound more professional. Use this resource of all the action verbs you can potentially use: Skills Extraction Resource.

Resume Examples

Editing English Resume

Graphic Design Resume

History and Spanish Resume

Human Services and Psych Resume

Teaching and Psych Resume

Resume Guide for Student-Athletes

Cover Letters

The cover letter works as a complement to your resume. It articulates your skills and experiences in a more personable way through letter-writing. Usually, the best cover letters have good grammar and are short and straight to the point.

Cover Letter Formatting

A good cover letter format should include three components:

  • Salutation paragraph - Creates interest and states why you are writing.

  • Connection paragraph - Connects the job requirements with your experience on your resume

  • Call-to-action paragraph - Wraps up your letter by giving the  employer their next steps in contacting you.   

    Take a look at the cover letter examples to see how they are formatted.

Cover Letter Examples 

Graphic Design Cover Letter

Editing English Cover Letter


“It’s not who you know, but who knows you”. The best way to prepare you into a successful career that you desire is to build your network before you need it. You’d be surprised at how having a well-defined network in your back pocket can lead you into some great opportunities. Almost 70% of jobs are found via networking, which means networking is a great way to land your next internship or job. If you’re looking for some useful networking tips, look over the FAQ below:

What Are Some Opportunities to Network?

  • One-on-one interactions with employees at a special event
  • IDEA Center-hosted events with industry professionals
  • Attending company-related events off-campus
  • Tapping into your parent’s network, your friend’s parents, alumni, neighbors, or the IDEA Center
  • Informational interviews through lunch or coffee. Company employees always love going out for coffee
  • Career fairs

How Can I Prep Myself Before Talking to Someone?

  • Create or spruce up your LinkedIn account. People might want to find out more about you by looking up your LinkedIn account
  • Research the company your contact currently works with. Get to know their services and/or products and any internship/job opportunities
  • Make notes about these areas so you can have questions to ask in the conversation

How Do I Introduce Myself?

  • Approach with energy, make a firm handshake, and smile! People love seeing energy
  • Introduce your name, major, and class. If someone recommended the connection to you, mention that person as you introduce yourself
  • If the occasion seems appropriate, come prepared with a business card, resume and a notepad to take notes

What Should I Talk About?

  • Talk about your major, and why you chose to pursue that major
  • Articulate your passion to work in the industry your contact is currently working in, if it’s of interest to you. People are interested in hearing your story and what your future goals entail.
  • 85% of the conversation is about finding out more about the other person
  • Ask questions about their industry/company, their job, daily tasks, etc.
  • Be curious about their work/industry while avoiding a “What’s in it for me?” mentality
  • Ask for advice or insight about landing a job or internship in that specific industry or company

How Do I Follow Up?

  • Like, follow or connect to their business social media accounts
  • Send a concise, sincere, short thank you paragrach via email
  • If they offered to make an introduction to another connection, mention that in your thank you email
  • Circle back to them when it seems appropriate

Informational Interviewing

Informational interviewing is like networking. You go out, meet with an industry professional of your choice, and gain insight about the person your interviewing. The goal is to get an idea about what it’s like to work for a particular company or industry. Go out for coffee or lunch and follow this guideline on hot conduct a successful interview!

Reaching Out For the First Time

Making contact through either email or phone and confirm a date. Work around their availbility instead of yours. You want to work at their convenience. If someone referenced you, mention that in your message. 

Meeting For the First Time

Approach with energy. Smile, shake with a firm handshake and make eye contact. Show some enthusiasm for being allowed to interview them! Start the conversation by introducing yourself. Articulate your passion to work in the industry your interviewee is currently in, if it’s of interest to you. Come prepared with a copy of your resume and business card, a pad of paper, a pen and a list of questions.

How To Sustain the Conversation

People love talking about themselves and their work. Ask about how they started out. Get them to tell their story. You can draw up more questions as you listen to their answer. As the conversation goes along, ssk for advice, not the job. Keep asking questions that show your curious about the persona and their work. Ask why they like working for their particular company. What excites them? What motivates them? 

Your goal is to walk away from each informational interview with a refined understanding of your career options, and a better understanding about the work your interviewee does. 

After You Connect, Follow Up

You can be easily forgotten. Nothing personal, people are just busy. Like, follow, and connect to their professional social media accounts. After the interview, send a concise, sincere, and short "thank you" paragraph via email. If your interviewee mentioned someone you should connect with, mention that in your email as well by asking for an introduction. 

Staying Organized

Remember their name. Keep a log of dates, times, comments, and other linking connections. Circle back to them when appropriate and trust the next door will open for you!

Networking and Interviewing Resources

Here are come resources that can be handy when preparing to network or for possible interviews.